Ukraine: a burnt Russian ammunition depot in Donetsk
The high mobility artillery rocket system has been used to devastating effect by the Ukrainian military since it was first supplied in June, and was credited last week by RUSI’s Dr Sidharth Kaushal as having changed the course of the war. Writing on Facebook today, Serhiy Gaidai, head of the Lugansk regional military administration, said the Pyatnashka Battalion, created after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, was on fire.
He added: “Right now, on the outskirts of Donetsk, either someone was carelessly smoking or it was ‘stones from the sky’.
“The base of the notorious ‘Pyatnashka’, an international gang that fought in the Lugansk region, is on fire.”
The missiles had “destroyed fashionable equipment”, Mr Gaidai said, adding: “There will be more”.
Donetsk: The explosions woke up several people in the early morning
Denys Kazanskyi, a Ukrainian journalist, shared a clip on Telegram that appeared to show explosions in the building.
He commented: “At night, the base of the so-called “Pyatnashka” brigade was hit by a high-precision HIMARS strike in Donetsk.”
Other images allegedly showing attacks on the base have also been shared on social media.
JUSTINE: ‘Cannon fodder!’ Desperate Putin seeks new recruits
Russian President Vladimir Putin
A local report suggested the blasts, around 4 a.m. local time, awoke residents of Donetsk, located in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s eastern Ukraine.
Speaking to Express.co.uk on Friday, Dr Kaushal, a researcher with the UK-based military think tank, said: “HIMARS definitely had an impact on the course of the war by allowing Ukrainians to target Russian artillery depots and slow the pace”. during which Russia was able to conduct fire missions to the east.
“I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say it changed the tide of the war – Russia’s pace of advance, which has now stalled, has been slow for a number of reasons, including exhaustion and the exhaustion of their units and the difficult terrain.
DO NOT MISS
Russian activists plead with the West to stop the army from killing Moscow soldiers [REPORT]
Putin’s shoddy commanders exposed as MoD uncovers costly failures [ANALYSIS]
China sends troops to Russia as part of escalating ‘no limits’ deal [REVEAL]
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
He added: “That said, HIMARS undoubtedly contributed massively to this outcome by preventing the Russians from compensating for their lack of infantry with sheer firepower as they did in the initial phases of their advance through the Donbas.”
“It looks like Russia is struggling to deal with it.”
Earlier this month, Sunil Nair, an analyst with defense intelligence firm Janes, outlined four specific reasons why Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces were struggling to deal with the HIMARS attack, related to their mobility, their precision, what he called their “connected technology” and the high levels of crew training.
HIMARS Fact Sheet
He said: “The HIMARS have certainly proven their potential as a powerful force multiplier for the existing Ukrainian artillery, as well as the other recently received Western kits – towed and self-propelled howitzers.
“It’s the accuracy factor with the M31A1 shells that gives Ukraine a significant new artillery capability over its Soviet-era MRLs.
“However, for range, the M31 GMLRS cartridge fired from the HIMARS does not offer a significantly higher capacity than the BM-27 Uragans or the BM-30 Smerch.”
Mr. Nair explained: “Therefore, while the massive artillery fire will come from these and other new artillery systems, the M142 HIMARS will be useful in counter-battery, hitting high-value targets in depth and possibly in the suppression of Russian air defense assets (SEAD).
“The only factor that Ukrainians will be aware of is the ‘burn rate’.
“The limitation of the ‘HIMARS effect’ is more the availability of rockets than launchers.
“While 16 launchers were supplied, Ukraine requested 100 more.”